The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Author: Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is one of the funniest Mark Twain’s novels telling us about the exciting life of a young boy. The main character is an ingenious and tricky but still kind-hearted boy. The author endowed him with all the most common traits of an average teenager, and probably that is the reason why the novel is so popular among children of his age – it is easy for them to imagine themselves in his place. The story begins with one of Tom’s tricks that familiarizes a reader with the typical behavior of this boy.

Aunt Polly looks after Tom, wants him to be an obedient child and quotes the Bible for almost every occasion. She is an open-hearted and kind woman who loves her nephew and cares about him, but she tries not to go too far with her affection, so Tom has to deal with many various methods of her upbringing. Most readers remembered her as an aunt who forced Tom to whitewash the fence. Tom is not the only one child cared by Aunt Polly. He has a half-brother Sid, who is rather a negative character in the novel and the complete opposite of the protagonist.

Like every boy, Tom fell in love. His beloved girl Becky was a beautiful fair-haired daughter of Judge Thatcher. Unfortunately, Tom did not succeed, because she concluded that the boy was too frivolous.

However, the young seeker of adventures did not feel down for too long and found an interesting occupation with his new comrade, Huckleberry Finn, the son of a drunk, who seemed to have a kind of romantic life often described in Tom’s favorite novels. People do not want their children to be friends with Huckleberry, but boys envy him, as he is free, he does not need to go to school, study, be neat, and do other boring things. Not justifying his image of a bad and dangerous child, he is a kind and generous, but very freedom-loving person.

Tom, being a hellion boy, went with Huckleberry to the graveyard in the night. This adventure was not ordinary; they witnessed a real murder. How could the killer Injun Joe assume that the crime would be exposed by boys, who, ironically, had come to the cemetery to get rid of warts? Subsequently, Tom did a good deed by releasing an innocent man from prison.

Despite the horror of that event, the friendship between Tom and Huck grew stronger than ever. After some time guys got bored again, so they decided to entertain themselves by becoming pirates. Joe Harper joined them. This boy was Tom’s best friend, they played games together and were good companions; however, Joe did not go with the boys to the cemetery. He did not have so much freedom as his pals had, and was more obedient in general.

Once Tom and his companions became real stars in their town; when everyone thought they were dead, the boys came to their own funeral, thus gaining general attention.

Tom’s first noble act was accepting Becky’s blame for the torn book, and this touched her so much that the proud girl forgave Tom his previous engagement with another girl.

Certainly, such a story cannot do without treasure hunt, so on regular summer holidays the restless boys went looking for adventures again. Fate brought Tom and Huck together with Injun Joe for the second time when the friends went to a haunted house to find a treasure. As it turned out, the criminal and his accomplice used the hut as a place to keep money and other things necessary for thieves. The boys were actually right, and the treasure was really hidden in the house. Unfortunately, Injun Joe took the money away to hide it more securely.

The friends did not refuse their plan and spied on the criminal. Following certain events, Tom and his beloved Becky got lost in a cave. They spent three days there and faced deadly danger because of lack of food. However, everything that is done is done for the best, and Tom found out that Injun Joe’s new place for treasure hiding was the same cave. Soon, the children found an exit from their accidental trap, and people closed the cave while Injun Joe hid there, so he died of hunger.

The story about Tom Sawyer has a happy ending. He and his friend Huckleberry Finn started living a happy life with a bunch of money.

Character List

  1. Tom Sawyer –  The novel’s protagonist. Tom is a mischievous boy with an active imagination who spends most of the novel getting himself, and often his friends, into and out of trouble. Despite his mischief, Tom has a good heart and a strong moral conscience. As the novel progresses, he begins to take more seriously the responsibilities of his role as a leader among his schoolfellows.
  2. Aunt Polly –  Tom’s aunt and guardian. Aunt Polly is a simple, kindhearted woman who struggles to balance her love for her nephew with her duty to discipline him. She generally fails in her attempts to keep Tom under control because, although she worries about Tom’s safety, she seems to fear constraining him too much. Above all, Aunt Polly wants to be appreciated and loved.
  3. Huckleberry Finn –  The son of the town drunk. Huck is a juvenile outcast who is shunned by the respectable society and adored by the local boys who envy his freedom. Like Tom, Huck is highly superstitious, and both boys are always ready for an adventure. Huck gradually replaces Tom’s friend Joe Harper as Tom’s sidekick in his escapades.
  4. Becky Thatcher –  Judge Thatcher’s pretty, blonde-haired daughter. From almost the minute she moves into town, Becky is the “Adored Unknown” who stirs Tom’s lively romantic sensibility. Naïve at first, Becky soon matches Tom as a romantic strategist, and the two go to great lengths to make each other jealous.
  5. Joe Harper –  Tom’s “bosom friend” and frequent playmate. Joe is a typical best friend, a convention Twain parodies when he refers to Joe and Tom as “two souls with but a single thought.” Though Joe mostly mirrors Tom, he diverges from Tom’s example when he is the first of the boys to succumb to homesickness on Jackson’s Island. As the novel progresses, Huck begins to assume Joe’s place as Tom’s companion.
  6. Sid –  Tom’s half-brother. Sid is a goody-goody who enjoys getting Tom into trouble. He is mean-spirited but presents a superficial show of model behavior. He is thus the opposite of Tom, who is warm-hearted but behaves badly.
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